Newsroom layoffs rose by 30 percent in 2011

The newspaper industry continues to experience severe losses. How are PR professionals to react? The author offers some thoughts and numbers.

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But the newspaper’s ink-stained wretches are fewer and farther between these days, as the predicted recovery for the battle-hardened industry has yet to materialize. Rather, the contrary has happened.

The latest survey shows that the number of newspaper jobs eliminated this year rose by 30 percent from last year.

Moreover, the number of journalism jobs at U.S. newspapers in 2011 sank below 1978 levels, the first year the survey was conducted by the American Society of News Editors (ASNE). Look no further than advertising revenues to see why the industry’s predicted comeback hasn’t materialized.

Newspaper ad sales continued their downward spiral in 2011 and are estimated to decline by 50 percent from 2005 numbers. That led to the 3,775 newsroom job cuts this year, surpassing the 2,920 cuts last year. And these are conservative estimates that don’t include losses through attrition.

The Paper Cuts blog, which tracks U.S. newspaper layoffs and buyouts, put together a map tracking job losses for this year. It looks the same as the maps used in diners, with push-pins in nearly every city in every state.

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